Fall Gathering: letting go through contemplation

Marie Larkin (right) talking with Sister Gayle Desarmia.


Thirty-nine Sisters of Providence assembled at Providence Spirituality Centre for their annual Fall Gathering from 9:00 a.m., September 21 until 5:00 p.m. on September 23. This was an intense but significant experience in the Sisters’ journey as they continue future planning for the community and coming to completion.

As the planning processes have unfolded, there emerged a need to face the difficult tasks of “letting go and grieving.” The Leadership Team engaged two excellent women leaders to help us face the two tasks.

Sister Dorothy Heiderscheit, OSF, CEO of Southdown, presented on the first day and provided professional guidance on the challenges of the grieving process and resilience, the ability to recover from challenges and return to a state of well-being.

Jan Novotka and Marie Larkin guided the group through two days of facilitated reflection with references to great spiritual writers, Scripture, stories, readings and beautiful music to bring us into the fullness of consciousness of our reality and acceptance of the NOW. Through the process they guided us to deepen our contemplative stance.

The Leadership Team met informally with the Sisters on the first evening to update us on various aspects of the planning process as it is evolving. There was a good exchange of information and answers to questions from the group.

Some Sisters, reflecting afterward on the Fall Gathering event, had the following comments:

  • “an experience that took us as a group deeper into our prayer life – more contemplative.”
  • “we were more relaxed and open in our interaction with one another.”
  • “an inspiration to live fully and peacefully each day that remains.”
  • “unique to this gathering was a oneness, togetherness, closeness, a sense of peace.”
  • “a recognition that we are declining but our mission will live on in others with whom we have interacted.”
  • “we were given the tools to work through grieving and letting go and to enter into a contemplative stance.”

And so, we Sisters, concluded the sessions “Trusting in Providence and Walking in Hope” as we journey on into our future together.